Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Break? Really?

I’m pulling an all-nighter. With no good reason to rise and shine early, I’ve been working late. Very late. Not only has my January 2011 release been bumped up three months earlier, but I’m working on changes to a proposal. Need I say more?

There are night people and day people, night owls and early birds. I’m of the late variety. I’ve been a night owl all my life, starting within days of my birth. Getting up early is almost an effort in futility. When working for those hourly wages, I’d much rather sleep in late, work a late shift, and return home to stay up even later, winding down after a few hours. On my own, it’s late to bed, late to rise. Sometimes it’s been possible, but rare. But it’s Spring Break Week here, and there are no grandkids needing to be taken to school. Hallelujah!

There’s a problem. Come Monday morning, we’ll be back to the 7:15 a.m. alarm going off. Now I know that isn’t early for many, but for those of us who are night owls, it’s painful. And because I’ve been crawling into bed near 6 a.m. for the past few days--or nights, depending on how you look at it--getting up an hour and fifteen minutes after closing my eyes isn’t going to cut it.

So tonight I’ll try to keep going. There’s always a chance of a short nap later this afternoon…if I’m lucky. It could mean sleeping through The Mentalist
this evening, but because I’ve only just begun watching it, a miss isn’t going to hurt too much. Easier, by far, than to continue on this schedule, come Monday.

We’ve asked this before, I think, but let’s take a poll. Night Owl? Do you enjoy the quiet after the moon has risen? Or Early Bird? Rising with or before the sun?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Love-Hate Relationship with Computers

This past Sunday I was reminded once again how my goofy world revolves around my computer and the Internet. I had trouble with my PC and while the computer was being fixed--I was miserable. All I thought about was not being able to write this blog and do the other work-related things on my Sunday to-do list.

It occurred to me on Sunday that my computer had taken control of my life. I love being able to work from home, but there's a down side--access to the computer 24-7. I never leave work. When I find myself with extra time on my hands, I head to my computer to check e-mail, or I talk myself into writing another page in my wip, or I get a jump start on my research for the next day and surf the web.

Sometimes I long for the days when the Internet didn't exist--when work was in an office building thirty minutes from my home. Back then when I had time on my hands I took the dogs for a walk. Went outside and chatted with a neighbor. Or sat in my rocker on the back porch and enjoyed the sun on my face. Back then weekends were really weekends--days off work.

It's been months since hubby and I have taken a Sunday drive. I loved those drives when we spent a few hours alone away from the house. We'd talk about what was going on in our kids' lives, our jobs, and home-improvement projects we wanted to tackle. It's my fault the drives stopped--it's me who comes up with excuses about wanting to get ahead in my next book or making up the pages that didn't get written the previous week.

This past Sunday I realized that I need to do a better job balancing life and work. I need to learn to say "No" to my computer--especially on weekends.

How about you--do you have trouble balancing life and work? If not, what are some things that you do to keep your job from intruding in your day-to-day life?

Dexter: Honorable Cowboy July 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Orange Bar Stools and other Quirky Keepsakes

I’m sure most people have things that follow them through life, but who’d have thought mine would be a pair of bright orange bar stools? And as you can see, they aren't even fancy bar stools, but they are cool.

In the early 60s my dad got transferred from Dallas to Fort Worth and we moved. My mom decorated our new home in the popular colors of the time. Brown, orange, and green. Her purchases involved a pair of bright orange, molded bar stools which were pretty cool for the day. Now the house has gone through multiple redecorating attempts and when we sold it and moved Mom in with us last spring, the coppertone appliances were long gone and country blue, beige, and touches of pink had obliterated every hint of the original color scheme. Except those orange bar stools that still stood proudly at the bar.

My friends and I sat in those bar stools and decorated Christmas cookies. As have my kids and grandkids. I ate breakfast there every morning and the only phone in the house was a wall phone beside the bar where I spent many hours giggling with girlfriends or flirting with my first boyfriends. We addressed Christmas cards there. The mail got tossed on the bar where we'd sit and sort through it. Grocery lists and school work and . . .

At Mom's 80th birthday a few years back, I provided a basket of paper and pens and asked everyone to write her notes. Two daughters of our friends wrote about looking forward to coming to the house because my dad made them coffee milk and they sat at the bar in the orange bar stools eating Mom’s cookies and listening to the adults chit chat, feeling all grown up drinking their 'coffee'.

Combining two homes into one last spring, we were both getting rid of lots of furniture. Mom said to put the bar stools in the garage sale. We certainly didn’t need them in our new house. But regardless, my husband and sons piled them into the truck and they spent the winter in the garage at the new house with boxes and other items waiting for hubby’s shop to be finished. Two weeks ago we started moving stuff into the shop. Shelves and the floor jack. Wood working tools and a clock tinker desk. My dad’s old workbench and you guessed it, those orange bar stools. My daddy has been gone 23 years, but last Sunday his best friend and his wife came down to visit and my husband was showing Ted the shop. I walked out to check on them and Ted was sitting in one of the bar stools smiling. He said he couldn’t wait to call his daughters and let them know that the orange bar stools made the trip and were alive and well in Waxahachie. Those orange bar stools have once again earned the status of cool.

What funny things have you hung on to? I'm not talking grandmother's Dresden china or Mom's diamond ring here? I'm talking those quirky items that just follow you through life.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hubby & Son in Mexico last summer!!

Happy Time Change!! Ugh. LOL!! The clock might say it's noon, but I feel more like six AM!!

My friends all tease me that my life is never boring, and the past few days have certainly proven their point!! On Friday, Hubby was supposed to leave for South Africa. We've been shopping for adapters and luggage locks and specialty batteries for some oddball work thingee of his and making sure all of his medications are filled. We finally got everything ready when an hour before he was due at the airport, the phone rang. It was his doctor, telling him he had diabetes. Upon dropping him at the airport, he was still shaken. I assured him that I'll do everything I can to help him change his diet for the better--lord knows I could drop a few LBs myself!!

Tulsa traffic was insane!! Gridlock and construction and rain in all directions!! It took over an hour to make the normally fifteen minute trek. Hannah and I had just gotten home, lit a fire and settled in for a lazy Friday night when the phone rang. Bad weather in Atlanta caused Hubby's flight to be canceled. Back out into the cold rain we went to pick him up.

With Hubby home, we scrambled to find him something safe to eat. His doctor advised cutting all sugar and white flour products. I had no idea how tough that is!! I made a spinach salad with black beans and grilled chicken, but when it came time to pour on the dressing, even the low-calorie versions are loaded with sugar. I finally resorted to sending the kids out for sugar-free dressing.

I've always been a firm believer in everything happening for a reason and this time is no exception. Friday, my sweet, funny Hubby was pretty shaken up about his diagnosis. Since then, we've done lots of online research and discovered that this isn't a death sentence, but lifestyle change. I'm doing it with him, and it's hard, but we'll make it through. Had he kept to his original schedule, I think his trip would've been ruined by worry. Now, this little extra time to form a nutrition plan has made all the difference.

As a reward, fate gifted him a much simpler direct from Atlanta to Johannesburg flight, as well as a three-day weekend to spend exploring while he's there.

Last night, I fooled around in the kitchen and came up with a chicken, shrimp and brown rice gumbo that was delicious. Hubby made us a spinach omelet for breakfast. Yes, we'll miss Domino's and I-Hop, but after having been married for twenty-one years, we figure we might as well try for thirty or forty more!!